Low Brace Stroke

The low brace is a support stroke. It is mostly used:

  • To counter imbalance and prevent capsize. 
  • To stay upright when broached in small or medium waves. 

The key to this stroke is coordinating paddle use and body movement. Its effectiveness doesn’t rely on strength.

Technique Tips Practice Drills


  • At setup, keep your wrists straight and your elbows up. 
  • Lean slightly forward to improve stability by lowering the centre of gravity.
  • Push the blade forward slightly while opening your wrists, before slicing it out of the water for additional support. 
  • For a more powerful recovery, drop your head towards the water on the side of the bracing blade at the same time as the knee lift and hip flick. Bring your head up last once the kayak is in balance.
  • A low brace turn is a progression from a static low brace. The support is provided by the movement of the blade over the water. You need forward speed for this stroke to work. You’ll need to keep the leading edge of the blade raised at a slightly climbing angle.


  • Always check the water depth when practising this stroke – ensure it is deep enough should you capsize.

Common mistakes

  • Failing to maintain straight wrists and elbows well above the shaft  (i.e. the gorilla position).  
  • Not exiting quickly enough – putting your weight on the blade for too long will cause it to sink.
  • Lack of timing and fluency with the whole stroke. 
  • A tendency to leave the blade unfeathered when taking it out of the water – this can tip you in!
  • In surf a common mistake is to rely on the wave to keep supporting the blade – once the wave runs out of power, you won’t get support from the blade.

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